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Claims of incompetence in the legal profession

To be barred in the state of California, an attorney must secure years of higher education and pass one of the most difficult bar examinations in the country. After meeting these rigorous standards, they must establish themselves as a sole practitioner or find employment in an existing law firm. After years of education, testing, interviewing and practicing their craft, it can be hard to imagine a lawyer being accused of incompetence in their field.

However, many lawyers face these claims and threats to their licensure by the California State Bar (CSB). This post will examine allegations of incompetence based on CSB’s rules, but all readers with concerns about professional license challenges can find trusted legal counselors with whom to discuss their own needs.

Defining competence under CSB rules

Competence under CSB rules is not just about knowledge. It requires a lawyer to have sufficient learning and skill in the area of representation they have taken on, but they also must have the mental, emotional and physical abilities to reasonably take on the services they offer. A lawyer may be accused of incompetence for being new to the practice of law, taking on a type of case that is outside their experience, or failing to become knowledgeable to reasonably represent a client.

Fighting license attacks based on competence

What is important to remember is that competence is not based on expert knowledge or decades of experience. An attorney who lacks knowledge or experience in an area of the law can acquire it through work with a knowledgeable lawyer or taking the time to build their own knowledge and skill sets.

It can be demoralizing and embarrassing to have one’s legal background challenged as lacking and damaging to their career if their license is under threat. It is possible to fight CSB challenges based on competence and local California lawyers are available to help.


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